6. More technical support
With the never-ending shortage of talent, partners are always struggling to find skilled staff – and keep them. Given the regular upgrade cycles of all vendor technology, it’s near-impossible to stay up to date on every certification. Therefore, having technical solution on call during the proof of concept stage is a primary request we hear from partners around the region.
7. Less program complexity
Channel partners have limited time and attention spans. Expecting partners to know and understand everything about a vendor’s partner program is a rookie mistake, even when those partners have a supposedly “exclusive” relationship with the vendor.
Commitment is always wavering; it’s based on “what have you done for me lately?”. As a general rule, every vendor should further simplify their partner program and benefits, especially the benefit and incentive elements. If a partner can’t easily understand the points and how they are calculated, how can it serve as a compelling incentive?
8. More and better training
It is often a challenge for partners to stay on top of all the latest market developments as well as changes in the solutions they sell and implement.
As mentioned above, partners have limited time and attention spans. Training needs to be targeted, convenient and immediately applicable to the needs of customers. It should go without saying that partners would like training to be free – or at least refundable if they reach a certification.
9. Cross-sell, upsell and renewals support
While vendor salespeople are laser-focused on new licence revenue, partners gain a lot of business from ongoing service and support income and the opportunities to upsell and cross-sell new solutions to their install base. Our clients generally outsource renewals to third-party agencies such as ours, but it makes sense to support the channel more directly with this as well.
10. Joint annual go-to-market planning
Once a year, top-tier partners will usually sit with their dedicated partner account managers to plan target expectations for the year. However, it needs to be expanded beyond just sales to marketing as well, especially for less-sophisticated partners who need more support.
Partners often report to us that planning with vendors doesn’t expand much beyond, “We want you to sell this much to keep your status and margin points.”
One last point is that partners – everyone, for that matter – like to meet face-to-face at least once a year.
Ben Wightman is channel marketing & sales enablement director at Band Pte Ltd